Barney Roy made an encouraging start to what could be a highly-profitable campaign when leading home four Godolphin-owned runners in the Group Two Al Rashidiya at Meydan on Thursday.
The talented six-year-old was understandably keen early on in his first race since Royal Ascot in June – but his class prevailed as he asserted over a furlong out to pull away from last year’s winner Dream Castle.
Barney Roy crossed the line two and a quarter lengths to the good in the hands of William Buick, with Mountain Hunter in third place and Loxley fourth to complete the rout for Godolphin.
Connections are looking forward to the rest of the Dubai Carnival, with the Jebel Hatta and then the Dubai Turf on World Cup night being the objectives for Barney Roy.
A Group One winner as a three-year-old, he returned to the track last season after an unsuccessful stint at stud in 2018 and won one of his three starts.
Appleby said: “He’s a very lightly-framed horse, so we don’t do much with him.
“He was fresh in the paddock and for the first half of the race, but once he got into it, I was always hopeful his class would prevail and that is what we’ve seen at the end.
“That will hopefully take the freshness out of him now and hopefully we can work backward from the Jebel Hatta (on Super Saturday, March 7). All being well, it’s one step at a time.
“We’ll get Super Saturday out of the way and hopefully we can book ourselves a slot for Dubai World Cup night. Visually, from what we’ve seen there, you’d be quite happy to step up to 10 furlongs.
“It’s just nice to see him back to his winning ways. Hopefully he’ll gain a bit of confidence there and we can tip-toe toward Super Saturday.”
Barney Roy was cut to 8-1 from 10-1 for the Dubai Turf with RaceBets.
Secret Advisor also missed all of 2018 but he bounced back to give Appleby a double in the Meydan Cup under Tadhg O’Shea, who was having his first ride for the trainer.
Winner of the Melrose Handicap at York in 2017, he disappointed in both runs last year but repaid the faith held in him to beat Dubai Horizon by a length, with Dubhe third for a Godolphin clean sweep. The favourite, Dee Ex Bee, was only fourth after trying to make all the running.
“This is a horse who won the Melrose as a three-year-old and then he had a year off and his first few starts after his lay-off were disappointing, but the team have done a fantastic job out here,” said Appleby.
“They’ve gone very steady and it’s turned into a sprint. He’s shown class and it’s nice for him to get his head in front again and it was a nice ride by Tadhg.
“After that both he and Dubhe deserve to have a crack at the Nad Al Sheba Trophy.”
Appleby completed a treble when Brett Doyle steered American Graffiti to success in the Jebel Ali Port Handicap.
Gladiator King, trained by Satish Seemar and ridden by Mickael Barzalona, got up close home to deny Truck Salesman and take the Group Three spoils in the Group Three Al Shindagha Sprint.
This victory put him in line for other big sprints – the Mahab Al Shimaal on Super Saturday and the Golden Shaheen on Dubai World Cup night and Saudi Arabia.
Seemar said: “He’s not one of those who wastes energy, but he is a powerhouse horse and he knew what was going on in the race. He was stalking them and waiting and finished the job when Mickael asked him. It’s good to have a horse like that.”
Truck Salesman, a 66-1 outsider, led inside the final furlong but could not hold Gladiator King, who was delivered to perfection by Mickael Barzalona to follow-up his course and distance victory earlier this month.
Salute The Solider, bought out of Clive Cox’s stable for 380,000 guineas in October, won first time out for Fawzi Nass when taking the Mina Rashid Handicap in the hands of Adrie de Vries.
Plata O Plomo, trained in Sweden by Susanne Berneklint, sprang a 33-1 surprise in the Mina Hamriya Handicap when beating compatriot Francisco Castro’s Stricker by a length and a quarter under Carlos Lopez.